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NTSB Unsure of Cause for Obama Plane Problem

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), disembarks from his campaign plane after making an unscheduled landing at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis July 7, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Shailagh Murray
A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board found no clear reason why an evacuation slide deployed while Sen. Barack Obama was flying Monday from Chicago to Charlotte, N.C., forcing his Midwest Airlines MD-81 aircraft to land in St. Louis.

According to the report, an examination of the slide's hardware revealed no signs of tampering or missing components, or any evidence of punctures in the slide. But investigators did find "marks consistent with rubbing of elevator control cables," the report found. "Additional evidence was found to indicate that a catwalk railing was broken and impinged upon elevator control cables." The slide and hardware will be sent to the manufacturer for detailed examinations supervised by the NTSB.

The report stated that flight crew members did not hear the slide deploy, nor did a mechanic who was seated in the rear of the airplane. But soon after the plane departed from Midway Airport in Chicago, it was clear to the pilots that something was amiss. "The flight crew confirmed that they detected elevator control stiffness during the initial level off after departure," the report stated.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 10, 2008; 2:43 PM ET
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Posted by: Jo Bob | July 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

That was my first thought--that Hillary sent one of her operatives. After all, she hasn't released her delegates.

Posted by: LW | July 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: greenfun | July 11, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

A MacDonald Douglas 81? How old is that plane? That company has been out of business a while hasn't it? Sounds to me that money is being saved in the wrong place. One has to wonder who inspected the plane as well.

Obama had very good luck that McCain wasn't the pilot.

Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: Chris Brown | July 11, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed that Hillary hasn't been blamed for this one yet.

Posted by: thinkwithyourbrain | July 10, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"Obama such a joke."

And yet he beat the Clinton Machine at its own game.

Go figger.


Posted by: Chuckamok | July 10, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama such a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

It's probably God's work.

Posted by: Gabriel | July 10, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Yep, OFCOURSE most important was the statement that there was no (evidence of) sabotage found. So that was the intention of the report, instead of leaving that an open question.

Posted by: MM | July 10, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I worry sometimes since so many good Dem pols have died in plane "crashes". Sen Wellstone, a Senator from SC (forgot his name, but his wife won in his stead -bet that surprised the GOP), and Secretary Brown from the Clinton admin come to mind.
And as an aside, bin Laden's father (whose death Osama blames on Daddy Bush, hence the intense animosity).

It's so hard to put the pieces back together after a crash, and mechanical problems and failures do happen, so how can you find evidence of tampering?

Posted by: SpoxLogic | July 10, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Premature evacuation while gaining altitude? I hate it when that happens!

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 10, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, God, please, don't let anything bad happen to him!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

the latest on the campaigns:

Posted by: tomabrahams | July 10, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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